We hereby resume our travel along Narmada. Our next destinations in order are Omkareshwar-Khandwa, Khargone & Barwani.
Omkareshwar – Khandwa : Omkareshwar is one of the most revered temples of Shiva worshipers. Omkareshwar temple is on island Madhanta. River Narmada branches into two, forming an island Madhanta, to later rejoin and proceed further. We will spend a lot of time in Khandwa.
Hindu Mythology has lot of interesting stories/practices that are followed even today. Every now and then, the age old practices are rejected by some and then with a little bit of critical thinking and scientific analysis, these practices are found to be quite useful and relevant. However, any age old practice requires to be understood well from different perspectives and only then continued. Blind faith leads one no where.
Hindu Mythology has interesting snippets. One can listen to these in complete subservience. Or one can also ponder over such stories and try finding out why this story was registered in hindu scriptures. So here is one story about Jyotirlingam.
There are twelve Jyotirlingams across India. One of these twelve is in Omkareshwar-Khandwa. Once Brahma(the creator God) and Vishnu(the protection & care God) had an argument about who is superior between the two. Shiva(the Destroyer God) tried resolving the dispute. Shiva created a huge column of light called as Jyotirlingam. Shiva asked both the Gods to find the height and depth of the column. The column of light was extended across the three worlds – Earth, heaven and Patala (under the ground). It was an infinite column. The Creator God Vishnu flew upwards and the protector God Brahma went down the earth.
Vishnu could not find the depth of the light column and gave up. He conceded defeat. Brahma too could not find the height of the column. However, Brahma found a flower dropping from the above. Brahma asked the flower where it had fallen from and tried guessing the height or exact position of the tip of the light column. This was a sheer guess and Shiva found out the manipulation that Brahma had done in the challenge. Shiva, as a punishment for the false claim made, cursed Brahma that he shall never be worshiped in the rituals by people. Whereas, rewarding Vishnu for being honest, he was given the honor of being worshiped extensively in all the religious ceremoneies. Those who follow Hindu rituals do know that Brahma is never worshiped whereas Vishnu is revered with all the gusto.
One may stop here and accept this as a tenet of Hinduism. However, we can also analyse this further.
No one wants to appreciate just the start or inception of anything (Referring to the Creator God Brahma). Opening a shop or business is not a big deal ! Any one who has the money can open a shop or business. What matters is the protection and nurturing of the business. That is where the effort lies! We never thank our parents for the act of intercourse which resulted in our conception. However, we love them for nurturing or protecting us while growing up and later. A start is irrelevant. A lot of things start everyday but cease to exist the next day. But if nurtured, they remain and grow !
They say Hinduism is not a religion. Its a philosophy. Its a way of life !
Khandwa has another interesting story woven in its recent history. It was home to a Sheru Munshi Khan. He is an Australian businessman who earlier lived in Khandwa. Son to a laborer mother who was abandoned by her husband, he accidentally got separated from his family when he was five. He mistakenly boarded a train to Kolkata(1500 kilometers from Khandwa) and eventually got adopted by an Australian family in Kolkata. After 25 years, the kid uses Google Earth to trace his roots and in the end is reunited with his biological mother. This story was also made into an Oscar nominated Hollywood movie – Lion.
Its unreal how things can happen in this world !
Khargone: When Madhya Pradesh was formed in 1956, the region of Khargone was called West Nimar. It contained other districts as well. Later in 1998, West Nimar was further divided in to Khargone & Bharwani.
‘Nimar’ is an interesting term. A few believe that the word ‘Nimar’ is derived from the work ‘Neem’ due to high growth of Neem trees in the region. Another belief is that the term ‘Nimar’ is derived from the word ‘Nimarya’. Nirmaya in the local languages meansa place which is shared by both aryans and non-aryans. Later the term ‘Nirmaya’ gradually changed to ‘Nimar’.
In 2017, Khargone secured 17th rank in most clean cities in India. It was also awarded for being India’s fastest moving city under a population of 2 lacs.
A beautiful place awaits you in Khargone – Sahastradhara waterfalls. Sahastradhara translated to 1000 streams. Name is apt owing to several streams of water that Narmada divides into to eventually reunite.
Water sport Slalom is also practiced in Sahastradhara Maheshwar. Madhya Pradesh has been quite involved in the water sports and has been providing lot of competitive sportsmen/sportswomen to the sporting community. Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh has 3 academies for Water Sports to encourage people to participate in water sports.
Maheshwar also served as a capital during the reign of Rajmata Ahilya Devi Holkar. Ahilyabai Holkar was the queen of Holkars who ruled the Malwa region. She is credited with the construction of several temples, inns, forts and roads. Ahilyabai also uplifted the local economy of Maheshwar by starting a new style of ‘Saree’ – Maheshwari Saree. Even today one of the Holkar’s descendants Sally Holkar is continuing the tradition of Maheshwari Sarees by boosting its business through innovation. Ahilyabai is remembered as a representative of Golden age in the Malwa region – a lady of modern times. However, as the irony strikes sometimes at the most improbable places, Ahilyabai’s daughter herself committed Sati(an age old practice committed by women of ending their lives in the funeral pyres of their husband. The practice is now abolished in India.
Situated on the left bank of Narmada River, Barwani pronouned as Badwani got its name from the tree ‘Bad’ which surrounded the city in old times. ‘Wani’ means Garden in Hindi. It is situated at the Madhya Pradesh – Maharashtra border.
Barwani is famous for an old Jain temple located at Bawangaja (Chool Giri). The temple has a 84 ft. statue of Jain lord Adinath.
Barwani is also home to a family which has been lauded for vintage car collection. Family of His Highness Manvendra Singh of Barwani. Born in to the family of Maharaja’s, HH Manvendra Singh grew up interacting with Maharajas who were owners of vintage cars. He opened up a vintage car restoration garage in Indore in 1979. His was the only garage for Vintage Car Restoration then. HH Manvendra Singh has been featured in lot of automotive magazines and has been part of several Vintage Car Competitions across the world.
Images Credit : Autocarindia.com
Inspired by her father’s collections and interest in cars, Maharajkumari Vidita Singh of Barwani has taken up canvas to paint Maharaja’s vintage car collections. And one should see how beautiful vintage cars look on a canvas.
Artist Vidita Singh’s paintings are exuberant ! Full of life !
Images Credit : Overdrive
After Bharwani, Narmada Ji enters Maharashtra. Its a brief stint in Maharashtra and after that it enters Gujrat to eventually reach Arabian Sea.
As we leave Madhya Pradesh with Ma Reva, the journey up til now has been reminiscent of a mother bringing up her children. Narmada Ji is not just an important river that flows through Madhya Pradesh. It gives an identity to people of Madhya Pradesh. If you happen to visit Madhya Pradesh as a guest, you might be taken to see Narmada Ji. Localities say, “Apan kal subeh narmada ji k darshan k liye jaayenge! “.(Tomorrow morning, we shall go for Narmada Ji’s Darshan. Darshan in Hinduism is an opportunity to see or an occasion of seeing a holy person or the image of a deity).
For this post , we would like to thank Bharani Bodil Poulsen. Bharani has traveled extensively across India to religious sites. Do visit her website on http://www.mukti4u2.dk/
Here is a view of Bharwani’s Rajghat on Narmada Ji as she leaves Madhya Pradesh to enter Maharashtra. We will now meet in Maharashtra.